Defense Department’s Success In New York Continues

June 15, 2015 / News

Summary Judgment Granted In Favor Of Clausen Miller’s Client In Engineering Malpractice Litigation

 

Carl M. Perri (NY/NJ Partner) and Matthew T. Leis (NY/NJ Sr. Associate) in Clausen Miller’s Professional Liability and Casualty Defense department, recently won summary judgment on behalf of our Client in a construction defect/engineering malpractice litigation, after lengthy motion practice. This case involved the design and construction of an open air parking lot through the use of prefabricated concrete elements. Our Client was an engineering firm which participated in the design of the precast concrete. Several years after the project was completed, Plaintiff claimed she slipped on black ice in the lower level of the garage due to alleged improper design and construction of the structure allowing water to travel between the concrete elements. Due to the alleged severity of Plaintiff’s claimed injuries, she was seeking at least $17,000,000 in damages at trial.

There was significant motion practice at the close of discovery in this multi-party litigation, with 16 various motions seeking dismissal of direct, third-party and various cross-claims. Messrs. Perri and Leis prepared a Motion for Summary Judgment on our Client’s behalf which sought dismissal of the third-party and cross-claims asserted against it. In short summary, the Motion argued that the evidence failed to show that our Client was professionally negligent, a difficult argument to make insofar as it is factually sensitive. In so doing, we examined the expert opinions of parties adverse to our Client and proved, as a matter of law, that there was no evidence of a departure from accepted engineering principals which proximately caused Plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The other portions of our Motion defeated claims for contractual indemnification (including theories of quasi-contract) and common law contribution. The Court adopted our arguments in full, and in a 34 page Decision dismissed all claims against our Client. None of the parties with claims against our Client appealed the Decision, indicating their opinion of the likelihood of reversal on appeal.

Needless to say, our Client and its insurance carrier were very pleased with this outcome. We saved them the costs of a lengthy trial, uncertainty of judgment and possible exposure well beyond the Client’s Policy limit.

If you would like to learn more about casualty defense or professional malpractice defense, please feel free to e-mail Carl M. Perri (cperri@clausen.com) or call him at 212-805-3958.

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